Did we walk away, or did they beat us down?

In my earlier post calling Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn heroes, not villainous terrorists, I suggested that we walked away from a real chance to change society.

One of the more thoughtful responses disagreed with me:

“We didn’t walk away from it, Mike, we were broken. Kent State scared the crap out of ME. And people had kids, and wound up middle class after all, and some died from drugs, and the War on them, and some went to jail. We were intimidated.”

They do that.

They also make it very attractive to join the mainstream instead of protesting it. I can tell you it’s a lot more fun to live in an $800,000 house than it is to sleep on a lumpy mattress in a roach-infested apartment in a bad neighborhood.

It’s a lot more fun to drive a Mercedes or a Beemer than it is to stick a thumb out and hitchhike, and it’s definitely better to drink expensive wine than it is to drink stuff that comes $1 a gallon.

Things even got better for a while. The percentage of folks below the poverty line dropped under LBJ and yes, even under Tricky Dick. But Reaganomics and the horror that is Dubya have left the rich as well off as they’ve ever been and the rest of us, well, we’re sort of fucked.

But hey, we can watch “Idol” on big-screen, high-definition TV. And we can laugh at the idiots on “Springer,” until we remember that the mouth-breathing guy from the trailer park whose wife was doing his brother gets to vote just like we do.

We’re sort of at a crossroads right now. We can keep tolerating the way things have been going, in which case we’ve got 20 or 30 years before America starts looking like one of those Schwarzenegger movies where everybody lives in cubicle apartments and corporations run everything.

Or we can start fighting back.

We can start throwing out the Republicans — and the Democrats — who support corporate rights over human rights.

It’ll probably get bloody at some point.

But maybe we can get America back.